Talk:Era of Stagnation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search


I added some references to the Russian version. It would eb good, to add also English references for teh English version. dima 06:51, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

I don't think there is that much of a problem to use Russian references in the English version - better than nothing.--Konstable 07:53, 3 May 2007 (UTC)


History should be personalized. I add some pics, but I see, they should be arranged better. dima 01:57, 3 May 2007 (UTC)


This term appears in the article. Is it supposed to be "Terminology"? mdkarazim (talk) 21:30, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

NPOV in Social Life[edit]

In the last Social Life paragraph, the wording of the section doesnt seem to fit a wikipedia description about the behavior used by people to avoid governmental punishments during the stagnatory period. It seems like a how to, or some type of biased commentary -- not an NPOV description of the censureship (assuming thats the case). The last sentence makes a normative judgement on ther freedom experienced. I'm not sure that the wikipedia is an appropriate place for: "Surely, it was a not free life". Thekappen (talk) 19:52, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

Well, the attempts were to keep everything balanced. I am removing the social life because maybe really there are not enough references on a web. It is that I have seen but likely I should publish somewhere else. The rest seems more or less neutral, I think. Audriusa (talk) 20:12, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

About criticism[edit]

Well, it is not possible to say that the country of that USA has been afraid for half a century was worth nothing or that just drinking is enough to build the station "Mir". Do not over try with this kind of "neutrality". Or, of course, you can but it is very unlikely to lead a NPOV article that would be worth reading. Audriusa (talk) 20:07, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

The top image must demonstrate the essence of the topic. Clearly "Mir" satellite is not demonstrating the notion of "stagnation". I would suggest you to find a photo of people standing in long line to buy meat or shoes or underwear or toilet paper or butter, or... - Altenmann >t 21:58, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Two images are needed to demonstrate the essence of stagnation, one being something like "Mir" and another something like long queue or Berlin wall. This would reflect not proportional distribution of available resources and some tirany well, yet present, without false assuming that everything was a nonsense without any threat to the world. Just queue for the meat would show the overall pure, economically weak country that Soviet Union (same as fascist German who also had a good level of rocket science - and that?) actually was not. In the past I have placed both wall and queue as pictures but people remove queue images that are from different place and time, and there is no image of the original Soviet queue in Commons (while all queues look the same). I will put the wall back together with comment saying that it is needed to balance the POV next to Mir. Audriusa (talk) 07:04, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

This article is too much prejudiced! It is not really neutral! No positive sides of social life under the period are put!!

once again this article lacks neutrality!! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:10, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

I agree the article lacks neutrality. In fact, the title itself is non-neutral. Clearly, a picture of "Mir" would not be appropriate, but that is because this article is not appropriate. It is designed in such a way as to exclude information that doesn't fit a particular point of view.--Jack Upland (talk) 22:53, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

battery example deletion[edit]

The examples of poor planning and consumer good shortages was poorly illustrated by the battery example. One, the batteries were not similar -- one was 4.5 volt and the other was 1.5 volt (the 1.5 being a typical flashlight battery). Two, the 1.5 volt picture was not even a Russian battery. Three, there is no documentation or reference for the illustration. So I deleted the lines.--S. Rich 21:12, 7 May 2010 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Moved Black Kite (t) (c) 15:00, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

Brezhnev stagnationEra of Stagnation — Per WP:COMMONNAME, the title "Era of Stagnation" is much more appropriate than "Brezhnev stagnation". Soviet stagnation theory was established by Mikhail Gorbachev in the 1980s as the Era of Stagnation. It sounds more correct to seeing that the stagnation lasted through the reigns of Brezhnev, Andropov, Chernenko and Gorbachev. The title makes it sound like it was Brezhnev who created the stagnation, while having some truth to it, there were many underlying problems dating back to Nikita Khrushchev. It is noteworthy that "Era of Stagnation" is a much more used term than "Brezhnev stagnation", this can be proven by a quick search on Google Books or even Google. Other variations of GoogleBooks and GoogleNews searches return similarly disparate results. --TIAYN (talk) 11:03, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

  • Support, as the proposer. --TIAYN (talk) 11:03, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
  • I think "Brezhnev stagnation" was a common term in English-language journalistic use in the 1980s, but not sure whether it's the best article title. It certainly conveys a Russia-specific meaning, which "Era of Stagnation" doesn't. AnonMoos (talk) 06:30, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
The term "Era of Stagnation" was conceived by Mikhail Gorbachev; both terms conveys a Russia-specific meaning. --TIAYN (talk) 06:44, 16 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Support. The cause of the stagnation goes back much further than even Khrushchev, to Lenin, because it stems fundamentally from the establishment of an economy with centralized control. Stagnation, and, indeed, economic collapse, is an inevitable outcome, sooner or later, with centralized economic control. Blaming it on Brezhnev (or anyone else) is entirely missing the point. --Born2cycle (talk) 23:33, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
However, "problems caused by over-centralized planning" are really not the same as "stagnation". In Brezhnev years, many of the basic goals in the areas of heavy industry / infrastructure had been achieved, and the Soviet Union was producing somewhat technologically advanced weaponry, but this did very little to result in a nimble and responsive economy that could work well to innovate and meet people's many and varied needs (even when the government tried to allocate resources to "consumers' goods"), and it seemed that there was no interest in major structural reforms among the ruling circles... AnonMoos (talk) 00:31, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
It's true that a centralised economy is less effective, but that doesn't mean a centralised economy needs to stagnate. If neccessary reform initatives had been taken, and anti-corruption campaigns started, the Soviet Union would have survived. It is incorrect to say the stagnation started under Lenin, Stalin or Khrushchev. --TIAYN (talk) 08:20, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Recent changes[edit]

Recent changes by Jaan like here would have to be described as disruptive. It is unacceptable to remove cited material while at the same time adding the contentious, unattributed opinions by English-speaking authors with misleading statements like a "reduction in growth" when in fact every single year the national income and industrial production registered positive growth between 1964-85, as the cited article demonstrates. You are welcome to add material, but please refrain from provoking conflicts by deleting other users' work. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:14, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

You are both wrong; yes, its true, the economy grew under Brezhnev, but economic growth decreased, and nearly stopped; that's what stagnation means...... And no, the Soviet economy didn't just suddenly stagnate, the Eighth Five-Year Plan ((1968-1971) was the most effective/productive in Soviet history.... The problem with consumer society in the Soviet Union was as follows; the government put much more emphasize on capital goods then consumer goods - while, of course, major problems would still occur. The problem was not management, per see, but wrong policy. For example, chronic shortages were not a common site in Cuba in the 1980s; the reason is simple, the government's policy was more consumer friendly + the country always had consumer goods, the Soviet Union gave them it as part of an economic plan to develop socialism..... The Brezhnev era started with big hopes; but the lack of proper leadership, the establishment of a gerontocracy (which in turn led to political corruption) and the lack of reform led to stagnation. It did not just happen, and under Brezhnev there were still plenty of people who believed in communism (probably the majority of people did)..... "Sharp reduction of growth" is simplistic, and totally biased; its not an analyse, its just an answer by a guy who has probably never had an objective view of the USSR ever. Lost its moral authority???? How in gods name could that be proven??? What is clear from Soviet history is that many people still believed in communism, the majority did when Gorbachev came to power..... "waste", "Incompetent management"???? are you kidding me! Alexei Kosygin has been hailed by several people as a gifted administrator; lack of reform is not the same as mismanagement....
I'll start work on this article soon; if you want to know more about the stagnation, read Leonid Brezhnev and the History of the Soviet Union (1964–1982) article, they are both GAs and objective. --TIAYN (talk) 23:41, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
Look at the Russian version of this article, which is very succinct, informative, and balanced. The term "Stagnation era" itself is part of Gorbachev and later Yeltsin's propaganda campaign to discredit his predecessors and establish legitimacy. The 1964-85 era in USSR never ceased in achieving positive rates of growth in national income and industrial growth, as well as concrete social improvements for the people such as large-scale housing construction and development of infrastructure. Even when the "stagnation" was allegedly at its height, the 10th Five-Year Plan (1976-81) showed that national income grew at 4.3%. This is all explained in the Novosti article.
See A. Zinovyev's essay where he eloquently makes the point:
In the postwar years (especially in the so-called 'stagnation years' of the 1970s-1980s!) the number of industrial enterprises, establishments and institutions grew dozens of times. Large-scale processes of development and sophistication of the society were going on at an unprecedented speed, unheard-of in the history of mankind. And this was happening in a community of enormous dimensions. All the aspects of life underwent sophistication - education, culture, communications, international ties, etc.
You are right, things continued to improve, but economic growth DECLINED; decline is stagnation. The lack of flexibility in leadership practically doomed communism and the Soviet Union. They had their chance, and ruined it! --TIAYN (talk) 00:04, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
Technically you must not remove statements from scholarly books and peer-reviewed articles based on decades of work by top researchers and replace them with news reports by an agency controlled by the Russian government. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 00:11, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
You can find this in books to, read for instance The Rise and Fall of Communism by Archie Brown, A Modern History of Russia by Robert Service, Brezhnev Reconsidered by Mark Sandle and Edwin Bacon, The Soviet Union under Brezhnev by William Tompson - these are facts; i'll add these, but its a bit hard to work on an article when both of you are writing incorrect info. --TIAYN (talk) 00:14, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
This is your claim. It would be correct of you quote a hard source that argues against the cited statements before removing them. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 00:18, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
This is not my claim, this is facts: i wrote the Leonid Brezhnev article, i wrote the Alexei Kosygin article and i wrote the History of the Soviet Union (1964–1982); which are all GAs. Are you saying that those articles are built upon wrong info. Are all those authors, books and sources wrong???? Are all sources which contradict you wrong?? I havn't said you're view was wrong; I'm saying its simplistic - wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a gathering of shallow views, but of learning! --TIAYN (talk) 00:24, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
Jaan, please refrain from deleting other users' work, as you have done that multiple times in this article. What's also problematic is how you add very vague, contentious, selective statements in your versions, such as how "Party lost its legitimacy, and so forth". Not only is this very controversial to state, but more importantly it is unattributed. When stating such opinions, the sources must be clearly attributed. I'm curious: what is your justification for deleting the the data on economic growth in the 1964 to early 1980s period? Is it because it does not fit a certain POV?
Furthermore, the text you added ["The popular spirit and ideological base of the economic system eroded and became irrelevant to people's everyday concerns. The Party lost its moral authority as it quested for economic solvency and stability."] does not appear in the cited source, which is John Keep's broad overview of SSSR history during 1945-1991. Rather, it is cut and pasted ad verbatim from a mysterious book review that appears only as a snippet, which raises copyright concerns. This is really dishonest and needs to stop. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:38, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
If thats true, you deserve to be blocked; you've already breached the 3 edit-war rule (but I won't block you)... The truth is that the current summary is not good either (but its better from yours, and an improvement over the previous one); this article needs to be expanded - this is a important article which is in a terrible state. --TIAYN (talk) 00:48, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
Yes I do not have the book at hand while I saw this history article based on Russian news reports. Book reviews usually reflect the contents of the book rather adequately. Even a book review is more reliable than a news report so please stick to the topic. Which is, that you are still to present a reliable source to refute the cited and now deleted claims. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 01:00, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
Let me also point out that the first third of what you have edit warred into this section is irrelevant to the era starting at the mid-1970s as the opening paragraphs states. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 01:08, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
I've given you plenty of books, plenty of sources, even told you to read the articles which I mentioned (which are all referenced...) Are you actually listening to what we are saying?? We have sources, I've read several books on this topic - you havn't even read the book which you used. And when in goods name could you just suddently refute a news organ? I've never heard of this; it doesn't matter if its owned by the state. BBC is owned by the state; its objective, isnt it?? Are you stupid, or is it something wrong with you're brain??? I mean, seriously, how long do I need to tell you ; either read, and learn, or fuck off? I mean its an easy choice, either learn, or be stupid, What's you're choice? It seems to me that you're more interested in agitating easy simplistic views, then to actually learn something. This is fine, but you won't get away with it. --TIAYN (talk) 01:12, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
Nice temper. Now back to how to improve the section.
Considering the History of the Soviet Union (1964–1982) article, I have discovered it is well written indeed. Let me quote its Era of Stagnation section: The Era of Stagnation, a term coined by Mikhail Gorbachev, is considered by several economists to be the worst financial crisis in the Soviet Union. It was triggered by over-centralisation and a conservative state bureaucracy. As the economy grew, the volume of decisions facing planners in Moscow became overwhelming. As a result, labour productivity decreased nationwide. The cumbersome procedures of bureaucratic administration did not allow for the free communication and flexible response required at the enterprise level to deal with worker alienation, innovation, customers and suppliers.[55] The late Brezhnev Era also saw an increase in political corruption. Data falsification became common practice among bureaucrats to report satisfied targets and quotas to the Soviet Government, and this further aggravated the crisis in planning.[56]
With the mounting economic problems, skilled workers were usually paid more than had been intended in the first place, while unskilled labourers tended to turn up late, and were neither conscientious nor, in a number of cases, entirely sober. The state usually moved workers from one job to another which ultimately became an ineradicable feature in Soviet industry;[57] the Government had no effective counter-measure because of the country's lack of unemployment. Government industries such as factories, mines and offices were staffed by undisciplined personnel who put a great effort into not doing their jobs. This ultimately led to a "work-shy workforce" among Soviet workers and administrators.[58]
My proposal is to use this as the basis for the Economy section. Does anyone object? --Jaan Pärn (talk) 01:21, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

Fallacious reasoning. John Keep provides a broad overview about the 1945-91 period of Russian history, while the Novosti article specifically analyzes the country's economic performance, summarizing the relevant historiography about the issue. So Keep's book is really not appropriate because he does not go into detail about the relevant issue, which is the alleged stagnation. As the above source by Zinoviev shows as well as other prominent Russian authors like S Kara-Murza, the "stagnation" era is seen as something of a myth, further confirmed by an authoritative article by Novosti. Your dismissal of the source is frankly bizarre. According to your logic, we can rely on Russian data when it shows bad things about the country, but we are to dismiss Russian data when it shows positive accomplishments. This approach is completely hypocritical and contrary to scholarly standards. And why would the current Russian government glorify its predecessors? In fact, what has regularly happened throughout Russian history is that governments frequently criticize and attempt to discredit their predecessors, beginning with Khrushchev against Stalin, Brezhnev against Khrushchev, Gorbachev against Brezhnev, and to a lesser extent Putin against Yeltsin.
Also, even the Soviet Government agencies in 1986 discussed in its summary of the previous 5-year Plan some of the shortcomings. If the Soviet Government in 1986 is going to criticize some of its own shortcomings, do you honestly think that Russian media today is going to completely glorify the Brezhnev era? This is from the Digest of Soviet Press about the speech given describing the economic situation in May 1986:

the fundamental reasons for the shortcomings consist in the fact that in practical activity timely consideration was not given to the changed economic situation associated with the exhaustion, in the main, of the possibilities for extensive growth and that the proper persistence was not shown in the utilization of achievements of scientific and technical progress and in the restructuring of the national economy and management in accordance with the demands of the times. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:21, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

The point Jaan is this; there are other theories as well; and while the history article is good, it is lacking; there is only one view. There are still many people who believed the Soviet economy started to stagnate because of militarisation. Secondly, while consumer goods problem was a problem, it did not lead to stagnation. If it did lead to stagnation, why didn't the economy stagnate in the 1930s? Just saying the whole system was shit, is to biased, and while there are people who believe in that (and they should be presented in the article), there are many people who don't believe in that; seriously, the Soviet Union was the only non-OECD country which had high economic growth surpass the OECD member states economically. That's an achievement. My point is simple, maybe I havn't made myself clear, all views should be included. This is a wikipedia, wikipedia wants neutrality. Just forcing one view is misguided. And as said, I will start an expansion today. --TIAYN (talk) 09:47, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
You don't own the article as you apparently cannot even understand what period it talks about. We already have the History of the Soviet Union (1964–1982)#Era of Stagnation section as a perfect basis for the section here. GNP is a widely regarded understandable universal indicator. The bottom line should by why this was the Era of Stagnation, 'a period of economic stagnation' as the opening statement says, not your praise of the Soviet economy. Hence you are not authorised to edit anything in the article without prior discussion here. I will hold everything else as edit warring. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 10:26, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
I agree that economic growth halted; even the I.P. dude agree that GNP decreased. Everybody agrees with you there. I believe there was an economic stagnation. I havn't praised the Soviet once in this article... Just saying facts... The only difference between you and me is that you only believe there is one answer and we should only include information about one answer, I believe that there are many answers/theories to the stagnation, and that we should include all of them. Whats wrong with that? --TIAYN (talk) 10:57, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
I'll be beginning my rewriting of the summary section soon. --TIAYN (talk) 12:48, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
GNP/GDP did not decrease. On the figures cited, the rate of growth of GNP/GDP decreased. The economic stagnation article suggests that stagnation is economic growth below 2-3%, which does not apply for much of this period.--Jack Upland (talk) 23:04, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

GOCE Request[edit]

--Blackmane (talk) 15:24, 18 April 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for copyediting the article :) --TIAYN (talk) 16:35, 21 April 2012 (UTC)
WikiProject Guild of Copy Editors
WikiProject icon A member of the Guild of Copy Editors reviewed a version of this article for copy editing. However, a major copy edit was inappropriate at that time because of the issues specified below, or the other tags now found on this article. Once these issues have been addressed, and any related tags have been cleared, please tag the article once again for {{copyedit}}. The Guild welcomes all editors with a good grasp of English. Visit our project page if you are interested in joining!
I've copy edited the vast majority of the article, but some of the end sections are not suitable at the moment for copy editing as they're not completed and have tags on them. Feel free to request another copy edit when editing of those sections is complete. Blackmane (talk) 11:04, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

removing POV tag with no active discussion per Template:POV[edit]

I've removed an old neutrality tag from this page that appears to have no active discussion per the instructions at Template:POV:

This template is not meant to be a permanent resident on any article. Remove this template whenever:
  1. There is consensus on the talkpage or the NPOV Noticeboard that the issue has been resolved
  2. It is not clear what the neutrality issue is, and no satisfactory explanation has been given
  3. In the absence of any discussion, or if the discussion has become dormant.

Since there's no evidence of ongoing discussion, I'm removing the tag for now. If discussion is continuing and I've failed to see it, however, please feel free to restore the template and continue to address the issues. Thanks to everybody working on this one! -- Khazar2 (talk) 23:36, 1 July 2013 (UTC)

I think there the POV problems remain. The title itself is very non-neutral, and the article is framed in a way so as to exclude any positive information about the era. I'm also concerned that the main editors don't understand GDP and hence don't know what they are talking about (see the discussion above). The issue here is that growth in GDP was decreasing, not that GDP was decreasing. This is not being pedantic. A decrease in GDP is possible. It's called negative growth or a recession. However, through this so-called "Era of Stagnation", the USSR did not go into recession. In fact, by the definition on the Economic stagnation page of below 2-3% growth, this period was not one of stagnation.--Jack Upland (talk) 23:17, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
The subject is inherently non-neutral by itself. The neutral coverage of the period belongs to the article History of the Soviet Union (1964–82). The article "era of stagnation" is devoted to a particular negative phenomenon. I agree that, as with many Soviet-related articles, the exposition is biased, and questionable. It is difficult to find non-Cold-War-style Western sources. Also, modern Russian sources are zealously beating the dead horse rather than neutrally analyze the problem.
IMO one way to overcome the problem is to limit this article to brief description of the term and to summaries of stagnation phenomena, and to merge the detail into the History of the Soviet Union (1964–82), keeping an eye on the Russian article ru:Период застоя (which BTW is also tagged for neutrality). - üser:Altenmann >t 07:02, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
I admit I didn't realise there was another "neutral" article. Is this a "POV fork"??? I think this could be fixed by rewriting the opening as "The Era of Stagnation is a term that has been used..." Otherwise, it appears this article is intended as a history of the period.--Jack Upland (talk) 09:28, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

I think in terms of scope, the difference between this and History of the Soviet Union (1964–82) is like the difference between Great Depression in the United States and History of the United States (1918–45) - so it's not POV fork as it's about a particular phenomenon which was *part* of the historical period. Which isn't to say that as written the article is fine.

Also, Jack, when you mention the GDP issue, can you be more specific about what you're referring to? "Stagnation" does imply "no growth" rather than negative growth (like Great Depression).Volunteer Marek (talk) 23:44, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

The difference between this and the Great Depression is that this article says "The Era of Stagnation ...was a period" etc. Therefore, it implies that it is about a period, not a phenomenon. A lot of the problem is the lead.
With GDP, I was reacting to the discussion above, where TIAYN said, "even the I.P. dude agree that GNP decreased". Well, it didn't. That would be negative growth. If you accept the CIA estimates (which seems questionable), then growth rates were below 2-3% pa after 1975. However, if we are talking about the whole Brezhnev era, that is far from true. Moreover, the current growth rate in the EU is 0.3%, which is far worse than the Soviet figures. Wikipedia's definition of stagnation below 2-3% pa is vague and seems to be far from universal. Other sources say below 1%. Or say zero or negative growth. These are not applicable to the Soviet economy at this time. (Incidentally, as far as I can see, this article never says the figures are annualised, which is an important point to make.)--Jack Upland (talk) 08:15, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
(ec)Well, the Great Depression was a period too - but I agree, the problem is mostly with how it's written.
As far as GDP figures go, the most reliable estimates are those from Mark Harrison which are partially based/complimentary to those of Khanin. Both of these researchers are already in the article (in the table) but their numbers are the ones that should be emphasized. Going by Khanin's numbers, growth was 1% during this time, which off the top of my head sounds about right. You're right in that actual decreases in GDP didn't come until the 80's. But that is why this is "stagnation". Generally speaking, less developed economies are expected to grow faster than already rich economies (diminishing returns haven't set in as much) so comparing 1970's Soviet Union with today's EU is not really an appropriate comparison. Anyway, as far as we're concerned, whether this was a period of "stagnation" or not is simply a matter of what the sources call it.
The numbers in the table are annualized.Volunteer Marek (talk) 08:32, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
Well, Depression era redirects to Great Depression, as it should. It would be wrong to have an article called "Depression era" and exclude any positive information on the grounds that this article was about the Depression era, and the non-neutral article is elsewhere. With regard to growth rates, it appears, on my cursory investigation (including looking at this article), that Khanin is discredited. If 0.3 is the new normal for "rich" economies, what will it be like in 50 years time? I agree that stagnation is a flexible concept, but that should be acknowledged in the article, as should the fact that the figures are annualised. Of course, this is a valid topic, but the way it is presented is misleading. I think it should be acceptable to acknowledge the Soviet space program in this article. It could also be noted that the 1970s was when the USSR 7 yachieved military parity with the USA, by some accounts.--Jack Upland (talk) 09:37, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
As long as this article is about the phenomenon then I think it's a legitimate topic. Why do you say Khanin is discredited? Based on all that original research and synthesis about "conservative think tanks" in the footnote? That's mostly just POV that needs to be removed. Among people who work on this topic, Khanin's figures are generally regarded as probably the best estimates we've got (this is based on a literature from about 7-10 years ago, so there might be newer research since then). The CIA numbers are almost universally recognized as junk.Volunteer Marek (talk) 15:17, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
Also, sources like Kotz and Weir and not really more reliable than academic sources like Harrison or Khanin. Weir is a journalist, not a scholar. Kotz was an economist from UMass Amherst. Now, no disrespect to UMA intended, but they're not exactly a "mainstream" department. Their views could possibly be mentioned in the article but since they're pretty non-representative they should not be given UNDUE weight.Volunteer Marek (talk) 15:22, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
Oh, and as far as the slow down in economic growth as economies develop and other issues:
Roughly, as the countries become rich their growth rates converge to about 2% per year. There are two basic sources of growth. Capital accumulation and technological innovation. Less developed, poor countries, get growth out of both sources. But as diminishing returns set in, the growth from capital accumulation slows down so that it only offsets depreciation and all that is left is the technological innovation part (which is about 2% per year). So it's not going to go to .3% (that's just the recession, not long run trend). In a similar manner it wouldn't make much sense to compare, say, China, with US.
As far as military parity goes, I think this is debatable and anyways, *that* is outside the scope of this article. More or less the same is true for the space program - although perhaps a brief mention should be fine. The article should focus on the Soviet economy.Volunteer Marek (talk) 16:14, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
I'm not happy with the state of the article as it is. It is slanted to the view that the Soviet economy was doing fine and closing the gap with developed countries until somewhere in the 1970s. Such a conclusion can only derive from methodological problems as well as the fact that the Socialist countries' planned economies simply couldn't be realistically compared with free market economies. It has been estimated that interwar Estonia had a GDP per capita of around 80% of the Finnish level, and I really can't imagine the GDP closing the gap with the Finnish GDP any year at all during the Soviet period, by the end of which we probably had a level of GDP no more than 20% of the Finnish GDP per capita (the GDP of the post-socialist countries can readily be used in calculations, unlike the Socialist era figures). Dorpater (talk) 17:27, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
There was pretty high growth in the 1950's. Part of that was just recovery from WW2 but a part of it was due to massive capital accumulation. In fact, according to Khanin's numbers, the CIA actually UNDERestimated how fast SU was growing in the 50's (and this is part of the reason why they later OVERestimated growth in the 70's and 80's).Volunteer Marek (talk) 17:59, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
Re: Khanin.[1]: Yoshiko M Herrera, Mirrors of the Economy: "While Khanin's work is well known, few economists today agree with him."--Jack Upland (talk) 22:40, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
It's possible that my assessment of Khanin is a bit outdated. What is the context though? "don't agree with him" as in "his numbers were revised and we have better estimates" or "don't agree with him" as in "completely rejected"? It's hard to tell from that sentence alone. When I click on the link it takes me to "this page not available" page.Volunteer Marek (talk) 01:26, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
I'd also like to know who these "few economists" are exactly, especially according to a political scientist. This book offers a much more positive picture.Volunteer Marek (talk) 01:29, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
Herrera cites Valentin Kudrov, but he appears to have been a critic of Khanin for some time. As I said, it was a cursory investigation on my part. I also took note of this article's footnote, which does appear to be wrong, as it cites the Soviet Interview Project which occurred at a different time for a different purpose.--Jack Upland (talk) 09:09, 23 January 2016 (UTC)

Useless statement[edit]

First sentence of second paragraph in lede:

Historians, scholars, and specialists are uncertain what caused the stagnation, with some arguing that the planned economy was doomed to failure from the very beginning.

Pardon, but the subclause that I marked with red, is about as much explanation as:

God decided to smite it

i.e. it doesn't belong to the species of explanations at all. An explanation is something like:

X caused Y, which exaggerated X, making a vicious circle

or some such providing causes. Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 19:46, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

RIA Novosti[edit]

Does it make any sense to quote information from this source? Data was falsified both during collection - by local authorities who would be judged by the central authorities based on whether their figures reflected the central economy prescriptions - and by propaganda, with its goal to portray the Soviet state in most positive light. It's very hard to make accurate estimates of the Soviet economy but its GDP per capita was probably four times lower that in the USA in 1980. Although in the USSR a higher percentage of the workforce was made to work in industry than in the USA, the claim that USSR's industrial output was 80% that of America is highly unreliable. I'm removing this as unreliable. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:56, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

@ RIA Novosti is a reliable source, you can't just remove sources because you consider them reliable. --TIAYN (talk) 09:41, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
Read this. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 10:20, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
@Jaan: It doesn't make says, it only says that RIA Novosti's successor Rossiya Segodnya may be used for propaganda purposes.. Secondly, why would Putin's Government write good things about Soviet economic performance? They are pursuing economic liberalism so why in gods name would they want to support Soviet planned economic performance? --TIAYN (talk) 14:30, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
The part I removed started with "In 1980, RIA Novosti reported that". In 1980 RIA Novosti was surely a tool of Soviet propaganda. Furthermore I'm not removing this source from the article but only one claim based on this source. I explained above why. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:34, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
RIA Novosti is not a reliable history source. Please stop trolling and use only scholarly sources. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 14:51, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
@Jaan: Honestly, if New York Times had written this you wouldn't have cared.. But that isn't a good argument... Give me one WP policy/guideline which explicitly states that news agencies are not reliable.. If you're so against it, what about a compromise, what about writing that those figures are Soviet figures.. Secondly, read the "Notes" section. --TIAYN (talk) 14:56, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
Please acquaint yourself with WP:SCHOLARSHIP and WP:NEWSORG. "Meta-analyses, textbooks, and scholarly review articles are preferred when available, so as to provide proper context." "News reporting from less-established outlets is generally considered less reliable for statements of fact. Editorial commentary, analysis and opinion pieces, whether written by the editors of the publication (editorials) or outside authors (op-eds) are reliable primary sources for statements attributed to that editor or author, but are rarely reliable for statements of fact." --Jaan Pärn (talk) 15:02, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
@Jaan: How is RIA Novosti "less-established"? These are Soviet figures, there is no reason why they should not be included in an article about the Soviet Union. It should however not be the sole figures used in an article, because of their unreliability, but as Note 1 shows you, the majority of statistics for Soviet growth are unreliable. --TIAYN (talk) 15:13, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
I think you answered your own question. Soviet figures are unreliable and should only be published as reviewed by a scholarly meta-analysis. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 15:24, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
@Jaan: They are first-of-all unreliable because the Soviet used Net material product (NMP) and GNP/GDP, translating the data to GNP/GDP is often difficult because GNP/GDP is much wider than NMP. --TIAYN (talk) 15:26, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
My point remains the same. A wealth of scholarly sources exist on the subject and they should be preferred. Also, reading WP:INTEXT may help you. Jaan Pärn (talk) 15:31, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
The RIA Novosti paragraph is certainly controversial. The claim that the productivity of the Soviet Union had reached 80% of that of the U.S.A. seems to fly in the face of all other expert assessments. I find it interesting that they were still making such claims in 2010, based on what they must have known was unreliable data collection and analysis. It may still be difficult for official agencies to acknowledge the extent to which the Soviet system failed economically. In any event, it ought not be placed in a section titled "Summary" because it does not summarise what went before. Macdonald-ross (talk) 12:54, 5 January 2014 (UTC)